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Thread started 01/11/22 5:06pm

TrivialPursuit

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Who Was The Pre-Cursor Act To Mid-90s Neo-Soul

After talking to a friend, and our love of Maxwell and neo-soul in general. The statement sorta came up, that Sade was really a preamble to the neo-soul genre. We've often talked about how Janet's "Nasty" was arguably the first New Jack Swing song.

But for Sade - was she the real first neo-soul artist? You can put "Smooth Operator" or "The Sweetest Taboo" next to "Tyrone," "Brown Sugar," or "Ascension (Don't Ever Wonder)," and the lines are blurred, in that they all seem cut from the same smooth and sexy cloth.

Some note acts like Tony! Toni! Tone! and Terence Trent D'Arby as precursors; as well as folks like Jamiroquai, Soul II Soul, Lisa Stansfield, Zhane, Me'sell N'DegeO'cello. They were all out there before D'Angelo's Brown Sugar and Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite (which was out a year after D', but finished around the same time). Other folks like Macy Gray, Jill Scott, and Angie Stone dipped into the neo-soul pond as well, after the fact.

The genre had a great variety of folks. And while there were some late 80s and early 90s folks, noted above, I sorta feel like Sade was a cornerstone.

Thoughts? Is there anyone from the mid-80s that I'm missing maybe? (Besides Prince.)

"eye don’t really care so much what people say about me because it is a reflection of who they r."
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Reply #1 posted 01/12/22 5:25am

donnyenglish

Keith Sweat and Al B Sure

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Reply #2 posted 01/12/22 8:02am

RODSERLING

Prince with Come, I m sorry.
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Reply #3 posted 01/12/22 10:05am

jazzz

.
Lenny Kravitz (It ain't over till it's over)?
.
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Reply #4 posted 01/12/22 10:23am

alphastreet

Sade sounds about right
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Reply #5 posted 01/12/22 12:40pm

paisleypark4

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TrivialPursuit said:

After talking to a friend, and our love of Maxwell and neo-soul in general. The statement sorta came up, that Sade was really a preamble to the neo-soul genre. We've often talked about how Janet's "Nasty" was arguably the first New Jack Swing song.

But for Sade - was she the real first neo-soul artist? You can put "Smooth Operator" or "The Sweetest Taboo" next to "Tyrone," "Brown Sugar," or "Ascension (Don't Ever Wonder)," and the lines are blurred, in that they all seem cut from the same smooth and sexy cloth.

Some note acts like Tony! Toni! Tone! and Terence Trent D'Arby as precursors; as well as folks like Jamiroquai, Soul II Soul, Lisa Stansfield, Zhane, Me'sell N'DegeO'cello. They were all out there before D'Angelo's Brown Sugar and Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite (which was out a year after D', but finished around the same time). Other folks like Macy Gray, Jill Scott, and Angie Stone dipped into the neo-soul pond as well, after the fact.

The genre had a great variety of folks. And while there were some late 80s and early 90s folks, noted above, I sorta feel like Sade was a cornerstone.

Thoughts? Is there anyone from the mid-80s that I'm missing maybe? (Besides Prince.)

Yeah Sade was the first I would say. She had a diffeent style of soul that was more jazz and blues influenced like Anita Baker too.

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Album plays and love for vinyl records.
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Reply #6 posted 01/12/22 3:25pm

TrivialPursuit

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paisleypark4 said:

Yeah Sade was the first I would say. She had a diffeent style of soul that was more jazz and blues influenced like Anita Baker too.


I'm glad you brought up Anita. I sorta thought about her, but something about her compared to Sade, both talented acts, seemed less neo-soul and more classic soul. So I left her name out of the mix. Plus, just cuz she's a tad...of a certain age... I'm not sure she'd sound right doing proper neo-soul in the mid 90s anyway. She kinda stayed in her line (and killed it).

"eye don’t really care so much what people say about me because it is a reflection of who they r."
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Reply #7 posted 01/13/22 2:00am

Krid

Sade certainly is an influence, I would think

Some of the Acid Jazz acts in London also pointed the way to Neo Soul. Young Disciples, Snowboy, Brand New Heavies, James Taylor Quartet, Mica Paris, D*Note, ...

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Reply #8 posted 01/13/22 7:50am

vainandy

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paisleypark4 said:

TrivialPursuit said:

After talking to a friend, and our love of Maxwell and neo-soul in general. The statement sorta came up, that Sade was really a preamble to the neo-soul genre. We've often talked about how Janet's "Nasty" was arguably the first New Jack Swing song.

But for Sade - was she the real first neo-soul artist? You can put "Smooth Operator" or "The Sweetest Taboo" next to "Tyrone," "Brown Sugar," or "Ascension (Don't Ever Wonder)," and the lines are blurred, in that they all seem cut from the same smooth and sexy cloth.

Some note acts like Tony! Toni! Tone! and Terence Trent D'Arby as precursors; as well as folks like Jamiroquai, Soul II Soul, Lisa Stansfield, Zhane, Me'sell N'DegeO'cello. They were all out there before D'Angelo's Brown Sugar and Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite (which was out a year after D', but finished around the same time). Other folks like Macy Gray, Jill Scott, and Angie Stone dipped into the neo-soul pond as well, after the fact.

The genre had a great variety of folks. And while there were some late 80s and early 90s folks, noted above, I sorta feel like Sade was a cornerstone.

Thoughts? Is there anyone from the mid-80s that I'm missing maybe? (Besides Prince.)

Yeah Sade was the first I would say. She had a diffeent style of soul that was more jazz and blues influenced like Anita Baker too.

Oh my God, I would definitely say Anita Faker was the first I heard. She was even more boring than Shitney Houston who was more crossover adult contemporary....but hey....when you kill funk, it opens up the doors for something even more boring than adult contemporary to take over also. lol

.

I don't agree about Sade though. When I hear stuff like "Is It A Crime" or "Your Love Is King", I think of sexy jazzy after midnight stuff from the 1970s like "Moondance" and "Midnight At The Oasis". I envision a beautiful high class call girl meeting her clients in a lounge after midnight before going to a high class hotel. When I hear Anita Faker, I envision a woman in a full cut dress, below the knees, possibly homemade, meeting men a church socials and inviting them over for Sunday dinner with her whole family while watching the kids run around and play in the back yard..... Oh, and I almost forgot, and if you went through her record collection, you probably wouldn't find any funk, disco, rock, or fun type of music whatsoever. bored lol

Andy is a four letter word.
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Reply #9 posted 01/13/22 8:29am

MickyDolenz

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vainandy said:

I don't agree about Sade though. When I hear stuff like "Is It A Crime" or "Your Love Is King", I think of sexy jazzy after midnight stuff from the 1970s like "Moondance" and "Midnight At The Oasis".

I used to see Sade put in the "sophistipop" category with others like Swing Out Sister, Basia, Everything But The Girl, Blow Monkeys, etc. That originated with 1960s acts like The 5th Dimension, Dionne Warwick, Burt Bacharach, & Rotary Connection. I think Sade (& the 1990s "acid jazz" groups) have more in common with 1970s smooth jazz/soul jazz than neo-soul. Like the stuff on CTI Records in the late 1960s through to the 1970s & acts like The Blackbyrds, Roy Ayers, Pleasure, & early Al Jarreau.

You can take a black guy to Nashville from right out of the cotton fields with bib overalls, and they will call him R&B. You can take a white guy in a pin-stripe suit who’s never seen a cotton field, and they will call him country. ~ O. B. McClinton
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Reply #10 posted 01/13/22 10:36am

Cinny

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jazzz said:

. Lenny Kravitz (It ain't over till it's over)? .


This seemed wrong when I was flickin' through the thread, but I think it actually carved a lane for nostaligic soul music (Tony Toni Tone, Me'Shell) to thrive.

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Reply #11 posted 01/13/22 1:58pm

paisleypark4

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vainandy said:

paisleypark4 said:

Yeah Sade was the first I would say. She had a diffeent style of soul that was more jazz and blues influenced like Anita Baker too.

Oh my God, I would definitely say Anita Faker was the first I heard. She was even more boring than Shitney Houston who was more crossover adult contemporary....but hey....when you kill funk, it opens up the doors for something even more boring than adult contemporary to take over also. lol

.

I don't agree about Sade though. When I hear stuff like "Is It A Crime" or "Your Love Is King", I think of sexy jazzy after midnight stuff from the 1970s like "Moondance" and "Midnight At The Oasis". I envision a beautiful high class call girl meeting her clients in a lounge after midnight before going to a high class hotel. When I hear Anita Faker, I envision a woman in a full cut dress, below the knees, possibly homemade, meeting men a church socials and inviting them over for Sunday dinner with her whole family while watching the kids run around and play in the back yard..... Oh, and I almost forgot, and if you went through her record collection, you probably wouldn't find any funk, disco, rock, or fun type of music whatsoever. bored lol

I only like a handful of songs by her but I could never listen to a whole album.

Sweetest Taboo

Nothing Can Come Between Us

No Ordinary Love

But those songs would work well just as a slow cut inbetween the fast songs...not when ALL of the songs are slow. Growing up she might have been the first time I heard something jazzy being beloved by all groups of people

Straight Jacket Funk Affair
Album plays and love for vinyl records.
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Reply #12 posted 01/13/22 3:45pm

TrivialPursuit

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MickyDolenz said:

I used to see Sade put in the "sophistipop" category with others like Swing Out Sister, Basia, Everything But The Girl, Blow Monkeys, etc.


OMG I LOVE BASIA! That first record is just so good, front to back. I like the term Sophistipop. That's very much what some of those acts are, like Basia, Blow Monkeys, Swing Out Sister, Lisa Stansfield, Johnny Hates Jazz, etc.

"eye don’t really care so much what people say about me because it is a reflection of who they r."
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Reply #13 posted 01/13/22 6:13pm

Mindbells9

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I've always felt like "The Ballad Of Dorothy Parker" was the first neo-soul song.
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Reply #14 posted 01/13/22 6:28pm

TrivialPursuit

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Mindbells9 said:

I've always felt like "The Ballad Of Dorothy Parker" was the first neo-soul song.


I've heard that argument before, but I do think Sade was on track for it well before TBODP came out. But, on the other side of that, had the high end of the song been intact, it could've been a leading contender.

"eye don’t really care so much what people say about me because it is a reflection of who they r."
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Reply #15 posted 01/13/22 10:02pm

thebanishedone

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Lonnie Liston Smith got to be a big influence on neo soul .Curtis Mayfield as well
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Reply #16 posted 01/14/22 4:53am

spacedolphin

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It was that chick, started with C, Cherie or Chantelle something, I can't remember.

music I'm afraid of Americans. I'm afraid of the world. music
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Reply #17 posted 01/14/22 11:19pm

TonyVanDam

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My picks for precursors to neo-soul:

.

1. Sade

2. Prince [some tracks from the Parade & SOTT era]

3. Tony Toni Tone

4. Tracy Chapman [?!?]

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Reply #18 posted 01/14/22 11:20pm

TonyVanDam

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Mindbells9 said:

I've always felt like "The Ballad Of Dorothy Parker" was the first neo-soul song.

.

THAT^ and Slow Love. nod

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Reply #19 posted 01/15/22 3:47am

jazzz

Cinny said:



jazzz said:


. Lenny Kravitz (It ain't over till it's over)? .


This seemed wrong when I was flickin' through the thread, but I think it actually carved a lane for nostaligic soul music (Tony Toni Tone, Me'Shell) to thrive.


.

Cinny said:



jazzz said:


. Lenny Kravitz (It ain't over till it's over)? .


This seemed wrong when I was flickin' through the thread, but I think it actually carved a lane for nostaligic soul music (Tony Toni Tone, Me'Shell) to thrive.


.
I fully understand that Lenny Kravitz is not a pure soul act. But when his first two albums came out, his organic and soulful sound was quite a revelation after the synth dominated productions of the 80s. Of course, Prince did a retro thing too a few years earlier with ATWIAD, but I think Lenny's first two albums really opened the eyes and ears of a large new (young) audience, and it brought back the desire for music played with traditional instruments and produced in a classic, analog way. Plus add to that his funky and streetwise image, inspired by the 60s artists, while his voice, especially on some of his ballads, surely brought back memories to Marvin Gaye and Curtis Mayfield. So, in conclusion, Lenny may well have been an influence on people like D'Angelo and Maxwell. Also, Lenny had prior to her solo career already worked with Angie Stone, another notable neo-soul artist (who herself also had been active long before the neo-soul wave took off).
.
But I also think, like many here, that Prince also was a huge inspiration for the neo-soul movement. Maybe much more than the British acts mentioned in this thread. In the 90s, it seemed that acts like BNH, Omar, Carleen Anderson, Young Disciples, and so on, were coming up at the same time or a bit earlier as their US counterparts, but it felt a bit like two separated scenes. Surely, there were some Americans involved in the UK, like Carleen and Jhelisa Anderson and Siedah Garrett, but it mainly seemed a British/European thing. The early start of the Acid Jazz movement, in the 80s, had it's roots in a long soul revival tradition in the UK, with the Northern Soul parties, and later bands like Working Week and Sade. And maybe, this new appreciation for 60s and 70s soul music, and it's associated music production styles, in one way or another, may have contributed globally to the shaping of the music a few decades later. Ultimately, some of this spirit may have found its way into the music of Acid Jazz-inspired bands in the US, such as Brooklyn Funk Essentials, Jazzmatazz and the whole Native Tongues hiphop scene, which in return where important precursors of the neo-soul movement. But likely, the American neo-soul artists were too proud to acknowledge their British collegues as an influence in "their" music and identity, especially when this influence was not too obvious. In the end, soul and jazz are among of the few original truly American music styles, and that is why influences from outside the US could be overlooked or undervalued.
.
[Edited 1/15/22 3:54am]
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Reply #20 posted 01/15/22 8:42am

donnyenglish

Digable Planets
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Reply #21 posted 01/15/22 12:07pm

TrivialPursuit

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donnyenglish said:

Digable Planets


Uhhh, the hip-hop band whose first album didn't come out until two years before D'Angelo's first record?

Nope.

"eye don’t really care so much what people say about me because it is a reflection of who they r."
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Reply #22 posted 01/16/22 6:06am

donnyenglish

TrivialPursuit said:

donnyenglish said:

Digable Planets


Uhhh, the hip-hop band whose first album didn't come out until two years before D'Angelo's first record?

Nope.

http://hiphopandpolitics....e-planets/

Lots of people who were listening to it at the time felt like their jazz fusion r&b sound was the precursor to neo soul.

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Reply #23 posted 01/16/22 8:24am

SantanaMaitrey
a

jazzz said:

.
Lenny Kravitz (It ain't over till it's over)?
.

No. Both him and TTD were way too much into rock music to pave the way for neo soul. And It Ain't Over has more of a 60s feel. And this is also the reason why I liked Erykah Badu and Maxwell and D'Angelo at first, but got tired of them pretty quickly: it's all slow soul music, in other words, more of the same.
If you take any of this seriously, you're a bigger fool than I am.
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Reply #24 posted 01/16/22 2:08pm

TrivialPursuit

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donnyenglish said:

TrivialPursuit said:


Uhhh, the hip-hop band whose first album didn't come out until two years before D'Angelo's first record?

Nope.

http://hiphopandpolitics....e-planets/

Lots of people who were listening to it at the time felt like their jazz fusion r&b sound was the precursor to neo soul.


Yet Sade was out a decade before them. Ergo my post. The roots go a bit further back. Digiable was just in the line of those influenced and who influenced others.

"eye don’t really care so much what people say about me because it is a reflection of who they r."
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Reply #25 posted 01/16/22 2:09pm

TrivialPursuit

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SantanaMaitreya said:

jazzz said:
. Lenny Kravitz (It ain't over till it's over)? .
No. Both him and TTD were way too much into rock music to pave the way for neo soul. And It Ain't Over has more of a 60s feel. And this is also the reason why I liked Erykah Badu and Maxwell and D'Angelo at first, but got tired of them pretty quickly: it's all slow soul music, in other words, more of the same.


Yeah, I'd agree. They had songs, it wasn't their overall aesthetic, especially Kravitz who is a rocker.

"eye don’t really care so much what people say about me because it is a reflection of who they r."
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Reply #26 posted 01/16/22 5:01pm

alphastreet

What about tony rich?
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Reply #27 posted 01/16/22 5:13pm

TrivialPursuit

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alphastreet said:

What about tony rich?


There were people before him.

"eye don’t really care so much what people say about me because it is a reflection of who they r."
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Reply #28 posted 01/16/22 5:44pm

alphastreet

TrivialPursuit said:



alphastreet said:


What about tony rich?


There were people before him.



Just read something about him having a neo soul sound on his album and when writing for others before, so thought of this thread
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